The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Just Opened - August 1, 2014

We are celebrating the anniversary of the 101st birthday of American comoposer Jerome (Jerry) Moross.  As with his contemporary & pal, Bernard Hermann, Moross not only famously composed for film (The Golden Apple, The 7 Wonders of the World, and the academy award nominated score for The Big Country), he also composed for the Concert Hall, chamber music and ballet.

Joann Falletta, cond.
London Symphony Orchestra
ISBN # 0 34061 14032 0
 3 major orchestral works of the composer best known for his film scores.   This particular combination of works play on the lush tune-ful qualities found in his film work.  His Symphony No. 1 begins with a big sweeping sound similar to Copeland (the kind of sound used in his score for The Big Country), followed by a skipping, spritely, jazzy 2nd movment that features a piano... almost a piano concerto within a symphony.  Moross considered his ballet score for "The Last Judgement" to be one of his best works.  It too is infused with a "wide open" bucolic sound, infused at times with more jazzy, urban musical elements.  His  "Variations on a Waltz" takes the classical theme and variations concept and plays with both style and substance through the variations, and hints at influences of Bernstein.  Far from the usual turgid, brooding complexity of many contemporary composers, this is completely accessible modern orchestral music, an easy addition to a music library.

Katarzyna Musial, piano
ISBN# 5 015959 462125
Polish/Canadian pianist Musial has attracted a round of awards, apparently as easily as her shock of bright auburn hair attracts attention to her beauty.  It's clear that she is an artist on the rise with a sense of awareness and showmanship.  Her provocative "Come Dance With Me" (the cover of which elicited comments from co-workers, "I'll dance with you, baby!") takes the tried-and-true formula of dance inspired works and turns it sideways by the choice of many modern composers like Mompou, Ginastera, Messiaen, Gorecki & Lecuona.   A not-for-everyone saucy mix of sometimes inaccessible modern european composers paired alongside the toe-tapping tunefulness of many spanish or spanish-influenced composers.  This particular "showcase" CD of a hot young artist shows tremendous polish and flair in a very savvy, technically polished presentation.

Anthony McGill, clarinet
Pacifica Quartet
ISBN# 7 35131 91472 7
My Delight of the Week.  McGill, principal clarinetist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra joins the Pacifica Quartet after they have completed their cycle of recordings of Shostakovitch with this change-of-pace that will be very welcome to many.  Both Mozart and Brahms had a particular genius for the blending of the clarinet with strings, and these solid, traditional works are the perfect way for Pacifica to reach out - for the first time - to include a soloist of McGill's talent.

Join us again next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fill Music Friday - July 25, 2014

We continue our summer exploration of the great releases old and new that are on our fill music shelves.  As many of these CDs are older, most are not only available online, but also available on several sources slightly  used, for a very low price!

The Jane Austen Companion
Compilation CD (mostly orchestral)
works of Mendelssohn, Haydn, Boyce,
Mehul, Bach and Schubert
NIMBUS 7032 (1996)
ISBN # 7 10357 70322 5
Music popular during the period of Jane Austen's life.
Duets for Mandolin and Guitar
Butch Baldassare, mandolin
John Mock, guitar
ISBN# 7 233-- 12512 2
Mostly traditional, all tuneful, works transcribed for the delightful pairing of mandolin and guitar.
The Complete Songs, Vol. 4
Monica Groop, mezzo soprano
Roger Vignoles, piano
BIS #1257 (2002)
In the extended labor of love and artistic committment, renowned mezzo Group continues her affair with the songs of Edvard Grieg.  This CD includes 5 Poems of John Paulsen, 12 melodies of A.O. Vinje (which focus on relationships), and closing with "Songs without Opus" we have a random grouping, many of which are nature songs like "Little Bird" and "Blueberry."

Music of the French Baroque Court & Theatre
Chatham Baroque (original instruments)
ISBN# 0 53479 02722 1
My Delight of the Week! This CD is a personal favorite of mine.  French baroque dance suites by Lully, Mehul, Charpentier, Mouret and more.
(Self Titled CD) (1998)
ISBN# 7 91022 07922 7
This early release of the popular chamber group is still available through their webiste. works by Piazzola, Donato, Gade, Lara, and more.
Compilation CD, various artistist
D.G. #15651 (2011 - 2 CD set)
ISBN# 0 28947 79526 1
Great piano artists playing solo works and show-stoppers of the first great piano performer, Franz Liszt, including a few works with piano and orchestra.
Pianist (2011)
ISBN# 8 84501 46366 9
The actual CD we aired on this program may have been a promo CD only sent to radio stations, as I do not see it on his website.  It includes the solo piano version of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," Pandolfi's Improvisation on Gershwin Melodies, Wild's Etude on "Lady Be Good," Pandolfi's arrangement of Weber's "All I Ask of You," and Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag."   CDs available through his website.

Mormon Tablernacle Choir
23 Patriotic Favorites
SONY 48295 (1973/1976)
ISBN# 0 7464 48295 2
Neville Marriner, cond.
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Phillips 442 406 (1994)
ISBN# 0 28944 24062 7
Orchestral "lollipops" - short, sweet, and  fun works for orchestra, with 2 songs thrown in featuring soprano Karita Mattila.

We hope you enjoied this musical buffet of music from our fill shelves!
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, July 18, 2014

Just Opened - July 18th, 2014 - "The Girls of Summer"

 It's summer, and "the boys of summer" has been a regluar part of beach lingo, so this week we explore music of "the girls of summer" - summer releases by women who make music.

Rediscovering a Dutch Master
Aleksandra Maslovaric, violin
ISBN# 8 52675 75731 1
Maslovaric and Feminae records have been instrumental in bringing works of female composers to light that might well be overlooked and forgotten.  In the case of Elizabeth Kuyper, we have a woman of considerable talent who was championed by Max Bruch.  A great way to hear great music, rediscover a little known artist, hear exceptionally talented musicians, and support women in the arts - all at once!

Caroline Leonardelli, solo harp
ISBN# 8 29982 15046 2
Thank you to Centaur Classics for providing us with promo copies of this CD for give-away to our listeners!
In the tradition of many great musicians whose work is "in the family,"  Leonardelli's mother was a harpist, and also a friend of the great international harpist Lilly Laskine.   At an early age, Leonardelli was studying at the Paris Conservatoire with Laskine.  This CD which focuses on french Composers of the late Romantic, early Modern era pays homage both to this great period of harp literature (shedding light on several rarely heard masterpieces), and her personal heritage with Laskine, including some works previously recorded by her teacher.  Leonardellis is quickly becoming my personal favorite harpist, with her exquisite technique and phrasing, and her taste in musical selections.  My Delight of the Week.

Marianna Shirinyan, piano
Odense Symphony Orchestra
Scott Yoo, cond.
ISBN# 0 90404 94082 8
Winner of 5 ARD International Music Competition awards in 2006, Shirinyan has become a frequent guest artist at music festivals internationally.  She has gained a reputation as one of the leading pianists of a new generation.  Here playing two Mozart piano concertos.

Seunghee Lee, clarinet
ISBN# 8 88174 45939 4
This is a delectable buffet of small melodic works where clarinet gives voice to the lyric line.  Famous hummable tunes from Brahms, Gounod, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Puccini, Donizatti, and Bach, to name just a few.  The effect is a full program of audience-pleasing finales!  Many of these are transcribed by Ms. Lee herself, and indeed she gets as much praise for her talent at arrangement as her "warm, rich, round" tonality.

Divna Ljubojevic, vocals/cantor
For info. and CD purchase
Known simply as "Divna" this Serbian vocalist has carved a sizable name for herself in the world of sacred music and the interpretation of historic texts.  She is considered the leading specialist in the music traditions of Orthodox, Christian, and Byzantine churches.

We hope you enjoied these new releases by female artists, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fill Music Friday, July 11th

We continue to share releases old and new from our fill shelf - works that have been featured on Just Opened in the past, that (usually) feature many small cuts, making them perfect for "fill music."

5 CD compilation release (2008)
ISBN# 0 28947 80223 3
The Ultimate Guitar Collection #2
RCA 63713 (2000)
ISBN# 0 9026 63713 2 7
Richard Kapp, cond.
Philharmonia Virtuosi
RCA 61911 (1993)
ISBN# 0 9026 61911 2 3
Mela Tenenbaum
Richard Kapp, piano
ESS.A.Y. 1055 (1997)
ISBN# 0 90998 10553 5
Film Music Collection
2 CD Set (1998)
ISBN# 7 38572 10892 2
The Rembrandt Trio
DORIAN 90222 (1995)
ISBN# 0 53479 02222 6
works by CHOPIN
Various Artists/Compilation CD
D.G. 453 906 (1997)
ISBN# 0 28945 39062 8
Romantic Music for Cello & Orchestra
Various Artists/Compilation CD
NAXOS 555764 (2002)
ISBN# 7 47313 57642

We hope you've enjoied exploring these refreshing musical tidbits, a light musical snack for your summer listening.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, June 27, 2014

"Fill Music Friday" on June 27, 2014

We're having a summer vacation from "Just Opened" and exploring many of the wonderful, under-played works from our "fill shelf."  CDs that - for a variety of reasons - don't make it into our library "proper."  We hope you enjoy the variety of various releases old and new, and the random selections to add some spice to your summer Friday listening!

Music from the Film
SONY 62013 (1995)
Slovak Philharmonic Orch.
Ondrej Lenard, cond.
ISBN# 0 7464 62103 2 9
A Collection of Romantic Melodies
2 CD set
D.G. 477 6555 (2007)
various Composers and Artists
ISBN# 0 28947 76555 4
Renaissance Improvisation
Ensemble Doulce Memoire
DORIAN 90262 (1998)
ISBN# 0 53479 02622 4
Julian Lloyd Webber, cello
PHILLIPS 424 426 (1995)
ISBN# 0 28944 24262 1

Thomas Pandolfi, piano
Moravian Philharmonic Orch.
Peter Schmelzer, cond.
available online (2006)
ISBN# 7 07541 86302 5
Pandolfi's website
Classics for a New Age
Various Artists/Compilation CD
RCA 23041 (1996)
ISBN# 7 4321 23041 2 1

Greg Funfgeld, cond.
ANALEKTA 9873 (2009)
ISBN# 7 74204 98732 9
John Novacek, piano
w/ Steven Novacek, guitar
ARC 1008 (1991)
ISBN# 7 2661 81008 2 5
Ragtime works by Novacek, Lamb, Joplin,
Scott, Roberts, Johnson and Blake

Join us next week for varied listening to brighten your Friday afternoon!
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, June 13, 2014

Just Opened - Friday June 13, 2014

Romeo and Juliet for Friday the 13th, along with some all time great piano concertos, violin duos, and solo guitar... Just Opened.

Alfonso Rega's Symphony No. 2
"I Pomeriggi Musicali" Milano
Heinrich Unterhofer, cond.
For more information and purchase, click here
Last year when we featured a recording of Rega's Symphony No. 7 inspired by the tradgedy of Sept. 11, we received feedback on how grateful people were for hearing the work, and its beauty.  See Rega's website for more about his thoughts on creating music that is both new and melodic.  The result is music that is both sweeping and accessible.  The strong use of guitar in this work is completely legitimate for a southern European setting, and heightens the ability to easily attach to this episodic orchestral work.  Alfonso Rega's work is worth getting to know - his works can update your music library and keep things melodic.

Jennifer Koh, violin
Jaime Laredo, violin
Curtis 20/21 Ensemble
Vinay Parameswaran, cond.
ISBN# 7 35131 91462 8
Two violinists join four-ses to approach works traditional and new, in a celebration of the teacher/student relationship.  The works by Anna Clyne and David Ludwig will be too challenging for some, but they are a good touchstone of where concert compositions are currently.  By now the once outre work "Echorus" of Glass has become a bit of a standard, and it stands there pointing toward these two newer works.  The opening work for 2 violins by Bach is a very good grounding to start things off in this CD of magnificent performances.  An adventuresome selection for your music shelf.
Piano Concertos
Stewart Goodyear, piano
Stanislav Bogunia, cond.
Czech National Symphony
ISBN #0 34062 30035 8
My Delight of the WeekJust a few weeks ago, I was thinking to myself that the Grieg piano concerto doesn't seem to get much attention now... and then this CD arrives.  This Canadian pianist is taking the world stage with rave reviews.  These 2 seminal, powerhouse romantic era concertos are a very good start for a growing "classical" music library.

Mak Grgic, guitar
MARQUIS 144720
ISBN# 7 74718 14472 0
Grgic is a young guitarist whose reputation is on the rise.  This CD features classic, well-loved melodies from film scores alongside traditional favorites of guitar repertoire.  The inventive "concept" of this "recital CD" keeps it fresh and accessible.  When people ask me for a good way to "introduce" others to classical music, I often reach for a CD like this one.  The combination of guitar, great works, and film tunes make it an excellent, musically non-threatening introduction to the world of fine music.  Another good pick to start your music library.

Just Opened will take a Summer Vacation and return in the fall with more great new releases.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, June 6, 2014

Just Opened, June 6th - Music Transcendent

Our theme today - Music Transcendent - sprang from Ivan Ilic's new release, music selections that reflect the philosophy of Emerson.  Continuing the theme, the works of jazz-influenced composer Frank Voltz in ambient works for harps, and even some explorations for tuba and brass.  And as ALL music is said to transcend our boundaries, we pair these CDs with more traditional works in new releases.

Ivan Ilic, piano
ISBN# 5 060268 640443
Ivan Ilic's Official Website
In full disclosure, I must admit to being a fan!  Ever since our interview 2 years ago, I have admired Ivan's "outside the box" way of approaching music, his breadth of knowledge and influences, and his willingness to go "all in" on off-the-beaten-path choices.  Not content with being a masterful international piano virtuoso, he also writes about the process:   Click here for an article by Ilic on how research deepens your musicianship.   Now, I must also disclose that I am fully aware that some of our listeners will not be along for this particular musical ride.  I know some of our listeners will find the intentional sonic simplicity of these works pedestrian, and others will think the sometimes painstakingly slow pace to be intolerably boring.   This music requires you to be along for the ride, and a "package" like this, put together with intelligence and intention by the artist requires a "buy in" from the listener to disengage from the hubbub and really listen.  For much of this "deconstructed" music it also helps if you study the scores, because some of these scores simply look like no sheet music you've ever seen!  Think of the score as a map to scale, where a quarter note equals an inch... a completely different way to - literally - look at music.  This is a bridge too far for some.  For others, a welcome invitation to engage in total immersion.  [To hear my extended 1/2 hour interview with Ilic from his previous release, click here. ]

Frank Voltz, harpist/composer
ISBN# 8 84501 23546 4
Frank Voltz's Official Website
My delight of the Week - for melody-driven, accessible new works.  Another accomplished and varied musician, Frank Voltz plays piano and organ in addition to harp, and his jazz and pop infused arrangements and new compositions have given a lift to many a church congregation and to many a harpist's repertoire (including my own).   If Ivan Ilic appeals to the intellect and the esoteric, Frank Voltz appeals to the heart-strings and the toes that want to tap.   Voltz has a way with infectious melody, and here in this cd also explores the more misty borders of a new-age-infused meditative ambiance.  It is worth noticing that "Ambiance" is the name of the first work on this CD, because it sets the tone for this entire collection.  (And in some respects, Voltz does view his CDs as collections... a unified whole with distinct parts.)   I've had the pleasure of meeting him, and his warmth and supportive humility are as infectious as his compositions.   His website makes it easy to listen to samples of his many recordings.  

Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 4
Leif Ove Andsnes, pianist & director
Mahler Chamber Orchestra
SONY 370 5482
ISBN# 8 8883-70548-2 9
Official site of Leif Ove Andsnes
Andsnes has reached that rarified circle of solo artists who can "write his own ticket."  His Beethoven Journey series of recordings and international concerts in major venues with top-flight orchestras is an obvious confirmation of both his status and his musical standing.  It is a whole different level again, to have a soloist also conduct.  This way, we know we are truly hearing the soloist's "vision" of the way the work should sound, based his own study, knowledge, and interpretation.

Viola Sonatas & Trio Sonata Op. 114
Geraldine Walther, viola
David Korevaar, piano
Andras Fejer, 'cello
ISBN# 6 81585 14792 4
more about Geraldine Walther
"Prose does not do justice to this music." -- David Korevaar, from the liner notes of this CD.  When 3 highly acclaimed musicians get together to perform timeless works, we just have to sit back and enjoy.  A personal pleasure for me is the opportunity to hear the Viola featured front and center in works of a great composer who obviously enjoyed the often unexplored potential of this alto-voiced instrument.

New York Tuba Quartet
New York Brass Quintet
ISBN# 0 09414 722125 6
Tuba Quartet featured at 2014 New York Summer Music Fest
This CD is a compilation re-release of previously recorded works, with a focus on tuba, and new works.   We're sharing a few snippets from this CD today, and many of the larger, modern works on this CD continue our "transcendent" theme.... like Persichetti's "Parable" for brass quintet.  Our listeners already know that I have a soft spot for the tuba (just call me "our lady of the orchestral underdogs"), and if you like your sonic explorations brassy, this could help you take that trip!

Thank you for listening to new releases with me today.  Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell


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